Branding is the mechanic behind why you buy the brands you love.
Regardless of age, position, and the business we’re in, we need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me co.
To be in business today, we are the Head of Marketing of the brand called You.
How can you become like your favourite brand? - be it Apple, Virgin, Nike, Audi, Coca-Cola, Hugo Boss, Rolex, Converse, Chanel, etc.
1. Start by asking yourself the same question the brand managers at Apple, Nike, or Audi ask themselves
- What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?
- What are the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or your colleagues?
- What is the “feature-benefit model” that the brand called You offers?
- What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?
- What do I do that I am most proud of?
- What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about?
- What do I want to be famous for?
2. Increase the visibility of your brand
If you’re McDonald’s, Cadbury, or Lays that usually means a full flight of TV and print ads designed to get billions of “impressions” of your brand in front of the consumers. If you’re brand You, you’ve got the same need for visibility — but no budget to buy it.
So how do you market brand You?
There’s literally no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your profile.
- Sign up for an extra project inside your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills — or work on new ones.
- Take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people.
- Try teaching other people. You get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you with more requests and more opportunities to stand out from the crowd.
- If you’re good at writing, blog and contribute a column or an opinion piece to a publisher in your field. Create a slideshare. Tweet. Once you get started, you’ve got a track record that you can use to snatch more chances.
- If you’re good at talking, try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop.
Create your own channels! There are several channels you can broadcast your expertise for free; Tumblr, Wordpress, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on.
3. Maintain consistent communication messages
When you’re promoting brand You, everything you do and everything you choose not to do communicates the value and character of the brand –What you have to say and how well you get it said. Your business cards also matter. Is the design of your card and logo YOU and demonstrating who you are?
4. Use your own power. Create influence and reputational power.
One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. As a consumer, you want to associate with brands whose powerful presence creates a halo effect that rubs off on you.
Remember that power is largely a matter of perception.
If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, act like a credible leader. When you’re thinking like brand You, you’re leading You!
5. Increase your brand’s value
Think like big brands do. Imagine yourself a brand manager of Apple: When you look at your brand’s assets, what can you add to boost your power and felt presence?
- Would you be better off with a simple line extension — taking on a project that adds incrementally to your existing base of skills and accomplishments?
- Would you be better off with a whole new product line?
- Is it time to move overseas for a couple of years, venturing outside your comfort zone, tackling something new and completely different?
6. Regularly check up on your brand value and brand perception
Instead of making yourself a slave to the concept of a career ladder, reinvent yourself on a semiregular basis. Start by writing your own mission statement, to guide you as CEO of Me co.
- What turns you on? Learning something new? Gaining recognition for your skills as X? Shepherding new ideas from concept to market?
- What’s your personal definition of success? Money? Power? Fame? Or doing what you love?
Search relentlessly for job or project opportunities that fit your mission statement.
Review that mission statement every six months to make sure you still believe what you wrote.
Remember that YOU are a BRAND. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today.